If you have ever wondered why our leaders in Washington D.C. seem to act so strangely, the truth is that it almost always comes down to just one thing. It has been said that “money makes the world go round”, and that is definitely true in Washington. This year the federal government will spend more than 4 trillion dollars, and that represents well over one-fifth of our national GDP. With so much money coming in and so much money going out, the stakes are incredibly high, and that is why so much money is poured into political campaigns on the national level.
And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that those that live the closest to this gigantic money machine have benefited greatly. Forbes just released their brand new rankings for 2017, and they found that five out of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the entire country are suburbs of Washington D.C.…
Virginia’s Loudoun County holds the title of the nation’s richest county with a median household income of $125,900. While nearly 10,000 residents commute to the District, according to Forbes, about 11,700 businesses employ 161,000 county residents, with Dulles International Airport, Loudoun County Public Schools and the Department of Homeland Security leading that charge.
The nearby city of Falls Church, Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland also lead the nation based on wealth.
In general, salaries for federal workers are significantly higher than in the private sector, and benefit packages are usually much better.
But in addition to having a very high concentration of federal workers, the D.C. area is also home to hordes of lawyers, lobbyists, defense contractors and other government vendors. Big government means big business for those guys, and business has been very good in recent years…
The federal government has a lot to do with this: The Capitol and the economy orbiting around it (including lawyers, defense contractors, computer engineers along the Dulles Corridor, and doctors near NIH) attract college graduates who reliably contribute to six-figure households. Crucially, there was a $1.7 billion increase in lobbying between 1998 and 2010, as Dylan Matthews explained. With each $1 million of lobbying “associated with a $3.70 increase in the D.C. wage premium,” the money pouring into Washington wound up in the pockets of its residents.
This certainly isn’t the limited government that our founders intended.
So where did we go wrong?
One of the big turning points came in 1913. That is the year when the Federal Reserve and the modern version of the income tax were established. The Federal Reserve was designed by the elite to get the federal government very deeply into debt, and an income tax was needed to help service that debt and to help pay for the much larger government that the progressives were wanting.
Back then, D.C. was nothing like it is today. In fact, even in the 1970s there were still large farms inside the Beltway. But the federal government just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and now it is a four trillion dollar monstrosity.
What I believe we should do is to dismantle as much of that monstrosity as we possibly can. Instead of asking which government agencies we should close, I believe that we should be asking which government agencies we really need to leave open.
A great place to start would be by abolishing the Federal Reserve, the IRS and the income tax. Those institutions are at the very core of the Washington money machine, and so it would essentially be like tearing the heart out of big government.
And don’t worry, the federal government would still have plenty of money coming in. The individual income tax only accounts for about 46 percent of all federal revenue, and theoretically we could still have an absolutely enormous federal government without an income tax. I once wrote an article that listed 97 different ways that various levels of government get money out of us each year, and so getting rid of the federal income tax would still leave 96 ways for the politicians to extract money from us.
As I remind my readers so frequently, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no income tax and no central bank. But I know that a lot of people out there love the 1.33 percent average yearly GDP growth rate that we have been experiencing over the past decade and would have a really hard time giving that up.
Unfortunately, it would actually be a very tough transition to a much more limited federal government because so much of our society is geared around the enormous money machine in Washington. In 2018, more than a billion dollars will be spent on the mid-term elections, and most of that money will be going to incumbents that are committed to maintaining the status quo.
If we ever want things to really start changing in Washington, we have got to start sending people there that haven’t been bought off by the big money interests.
In my congressional district there is no incumbent running in 2018, and nobody else in the race is nearly as conservative as I am. But since I can’t be bought by the special interests, I am going to have to rely on grassroots support.
Donald Trump showed us that anything is possible in American politics. When Jeb Bush decided to run for president, he had an extremely long list of endorsements and a hundred million dollars behind him, and he still got trounced by Trump because Trump had a much stronger message.
If we stand united, we can take our government back and there won’t be anything that the establishment will be able to do about it.
But if we sit back and do nothing, the cesspool of corruption in Washington D.C. will just continue to get deeper and deeper.
Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
For the past eight years, Barack Obama has been using the power of the U.S. presidency to impose his vision of a progressive world order on the entire globe. As a result, much of the planet will greatly celebrate once the Obama era officially ends on Friday. The Obama years brought us the Arab Spring, Benghazi, ISIS, civil war in Syria, civil war in Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal. On the home front, we have had to deal with Obamacare, “Fast and Furious”, IRS targeting of conservative groups, Solyndra, the VA scandal, NSA spying and the worst “economic recovery” since the end of World War II. And right at the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has committed the greatest betrayal of Israel in U.S. history and has brought us dangerously close to war with Russia.
So is the end of the Obama world order worth celebrating?
You better believe it is.
Of course Obama and his minions are in a great deal of distress that much of their hard work over the past eight years is about to be undone by Donald Trump. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden warned the elitists gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos that their “liberal world order” is in danger of collapsing…
Vice President Joe Biden delivered an epic final speech Wednesday to the elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The gist of his speech was simple: At a time of “uncertainty” we must double down on the values that made Western democracies great, and not allow the “liberal world order” to be torn apart by destructive forces.
And without a doubt, we definitely want it to collapse.
During his time in the White House, Barack Obama has used the full diplomatic power of the government to promote “abortion rights”, “gay rights” and other “liberal values” to the farthest corners of the globe. Here at home, the appointment of two new Supreme Court justices under Obama paved the way for the Supreme Court decision that forced all 50 states to recognize gay marriage. During his final press conference on Wednesday, Barack Obama told the media that he was particularly proud of this…
Obama said he’s particularly proud of the “transformation” on gay rights during his presidency, which saw monumental Supreme Court decisions on gays in the military and same-sex marriage. Obama said his role was mostly to deliver “a good block downfield to help the movement advance.”
He said gay and lesbian activists deserve most of the credit, and singled out talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, to whom he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.
And the final press conference of his presidency also afforded Obama the opportunity to talk about UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Sadly, Obama still does not have any regrets for betraying Israel so dramatically…
“It was important for us to send a signal, a wake-up call, that this moment may be passing, and Israeli voters and Palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing,” he said.
As far as many of us are concerned, January 20th cannot get here soon enough.
Somehow we have survived as a nation for the last eight years, but without a doubt a massive amount of damage has been done.
Many are hoping that Donald Trump will be able to start repairing that damage and will work hard to set this nation on a positive course once again.
It still doesn’t seem quite real to me that Donald Trump will soon be residing in the White House. Perhaps after I watch him being inaugurated on Friday I will feel differently. And I certainly am not expecting any miracles under Trump, but it sure will be nice to have a new face in the Oval Office.
Right at this moment, moving trucks are in the front of the White House and those that worked for Obama are packing up and leaving. This is a somber moment for them, but a joyous one for tens of millions of patriotic Americans. Many of us have been waiting for this for eight long years, and by Friday morning the current White House staff will all be gone…
In between closing out final projects and typing up reports on the work they’ve done, White House staffers are packing away their knickknacks, coffeemakers and photos. The boxes stack up in offices already vacated by staffers who have departed over the past few weeks.
By Thursday night, all must be gone to make way for Trump’s team.
Before they leave the building for the final time, they’ll go through a checklist that completes their formal separation from the White House: cell phones handed in, computers locked and papers properly filed to be archived. The last step, aides said, is the hardest: handing in the badge that provides access to the complex day or night.
But just because the left lost the election does not mean that they are ready to roll over and give up.
On the contrary, emotions are running extremely high on the left, and many of them are preparing to make the inauguration of Donald Trump as chaotic as possible.
For instance, on Tuesday night a man actually set himself on fire in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington…
A protester set himself on fire outside Trump International Hotel in Washington DC on Tuesday.
The 45-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, said the act was in protest of the President-elect’s looming inauguration.
Witnesses described how he yelled ‘Trump’ several times as ‘flames ran up his back’ before lying down in the street.
And it is being reported that radical leftists plan to blockade major roads and metro lines throughout the D.C. region on Friday in an attempt to prevent people from getting to the inauguration of Trump.
So let us rejoice that the Obama world order is ending, but let us also understand that the battle is not over.
In fact, the truth is that the war for America is just beginning.
The election of Donald Trump has energized the left like never before, and they are going to hit his administration with everything that they have got.
Donald Trump is going to need our support, our voices and our prayers if he is going to have any chance to succeed.
And all Americans should want him to succeed, because our nation is at a crossroads, and if we go off on the wrong path we may never find our way back.
How would America ever survive without the central planners in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve? What in the world would we do if there was no income tax and no IRS? Could the U.S. economy possibly keep from collapsing under such circumstances? The mainstream media would have us believe that unless we have someone “to pull the levers” our economy would descend into utter chaos, but the truth is that the best period of economic growth in U.S. history occurred during a time when there was no income tax and no Federal Reserve. Between the Civil War and 1913, the U.S. economy experienced absolutely explosive growth. The free market system thrived and the rest of the world looked at us with envy. The federal government was very limited in size, there was no income tax for most of that time and there was no central bank. To many Americans, it would be absolutely unthinkable to have such a society today, but it actually worked very, very well. Without the inventions and innovations that came out of that period, the world would be a far different place today.
It is amazing what can happen when the government just gets out of the way. Check out all of the wonderful things that Wikipedia says happened for the U.S. economy during those years…
The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy. By 1890, the USA leaped ahead of Britain for first place in manufacturing output.
An explosion of new discoveries and inventions took place, a process called the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Railroads greatly expanded the mileage and built stronger tracks and bridges that handled heavier cars and locomotives, carrying far more goods and people at lower rates. Refrigeration railroad cars came into use. The telephone, phonograph, typewriter and electric light were invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, cars had begun to replace horse-drawn carriages.
Parallel to these achievements was the development of the nation’s industrial infrastructure. Coal was found in abundance in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania south to Kentucky. Oil was discovered in western Pennsylvania; it was mainly used for lubricants and for kerosene for lamps. Large iron ore mines opened in the Lake Superior region of the upper Midwest. Steel mills thrived in places where these coal and iron ore could be brought together to produce steel. Large copper and silver mines opened, followed by lead mines and cement factories.
In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, a step in the process that became known as mass-production.
When hard working, industrious people are given freedom to pursue their dreams, great things tend to happen. The truth is that we were all designed to create, to invent, to build, and to trade with one another. We all have something that we can contribute to society, and when families are strong and the invisible hand of the free market is allowed to work, societies tend to prosper.
It is not a coincidence that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was between the Civil War and 1913. The following information comes from Wikipedia…
The Gilded Age saw the greatest period of economic growth in American history. After the short-lived panic of 1873, the economy recovered with the advent of hard money policies and industrialization. From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for real GDP and 4.5% for real GDP per capita, despite the panic of 1873. The economy repeated this period of growth in the 1880s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, while the GDP was also doubled.
Wouldn’t you like U.S. GDP to double over the course of a decade now?
So why don’t we go back to a system like that?
In 1913, the Federal Reserve and a permanent national income tax were introduced. Today, the unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve totally run our financial system and the U.S. tax code is about 13 miles long. The value of our currency has declined by more than 96 percent since 1913, and the size of our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.
Meanwhile, control freak bureaucrats seemingly run everything. Almost every business decision is heavily influenced either by taxes or by the millions of laws, rules and regulations that are sucking the life out of our economic system.
My favorite example of how suffocating red tape in America has become is the magician out in Missouri that was forced by the Obama administration to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses during his magic shows for kids.
It is no wonder why we don’t have any economic growth. The central planners in the federal government are killing our economy.
And the central planners over at the Federal Reserve are killing our financial system. In school we are taught that the Fed was created to bring stability to our financial system, but the truth is that they have been responsible for financial bubble after financial bubble, and now Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has created the largest bond bubble in the history of the world. When that thing bursts, and it will, we are going to see financial carnage on an unprecedented scale.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the Federal Reserve never has been looking out for the interests of the American people. It was created by the big banks and it has always worked very hard to benefit the big banks. During the Fed era, the big banks have become the most powerful economic entities on the entire planet. Our entire economy is now based on debt, and the big banks are at the very center of this debt spiral. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Paul B. Farrell…
Today’s world includes four Wall Street banks each with assets over $1 trillion, each more than Goldman. Plus eight other big global banks each have over $2 trillion total assets, including, among the 100 largest, Barclays, HSBC, Deutsche, ICB-China and Japan’s Mitsubishi.
Yes, this new world is changing fast. Back in 2008 the world’s financial banks were in ruins. Wall Street sunk into virtually bankruptcy. Goldman and its Wall Street too-big-to-fail co-conspirators had trashed the global economy, triggered a virtual depression, and Wall Street’s casinos lost over $10 trillion of Main Street retirement funds.
And as we saw back in 2008, the Federal Reserve is going to do whatever is necessary to prop up Wall Street. Most Americans never even heard about this, but during the last financial crisis the Fed secretly loaned 16 trillion dollars to the big banks. Those loans were nearly interest-free and those banks knew that they could get basically as much nearly interest-free money as they wanted from the Fed.
So how much nearly interest-free money did the Fed loan to normal Americans?
Not a single penny.
That would be bad enough, but it is also important to remember that since 2008 the Fed has actually been paying banks NOT to lend money to the rest of us.
What is it going to take for the American people to start demanding that the Fed be abolished? They are absolutely destroying our financial system.
Meanwhile, the central planners in the Obama administration have been doing their part as well. During the second quarter of this year, the number of Americans working between 30 and 34 hours per week fell by 146,500. During that same time period, the number of Americans working between 25 and 29 hours rose by 119,000.
Why is this happening?
Well, the Obamacare employer mandate will apply to workers that work at least 30 hours each week, so employers are starting to cut back on the hours their employees are getting in order to comply with the law.
But this is just one example out of thousands, and most Americans already know that the U.S. economy has been crumbling for many years.
In fact, things have gotten so bad that even 53 percent of all Democrats believe that the American Dream is dead even though Barack Obama is residing in the White House.
But this is just the beginning. Things are going to get much, much worse. We are going down the same path that Greece has gone, and the unemployment rate in Greece has just hit a new all-time record high of 27.6 percent.
That is where the U.S. is headed eventually. Decades of very foolish decisions are catching up with us.
The primary reason why all of this is happening is debt. As a society, we simply have way, way, way too much debt.
The biggest offender, of course, is the federal government. Since 1970, federal spending has grown nearly 12 times as rapidly as median household income has, and since the year 2000 the size of the U.S. national debt has grown by more than 11 trillion dollars.
When government debt gets too large, it has a profoundly negative effect on an economy. The following is an excerpt from an outstanding article by Lacy H. Hunt, a Ph.D. economist…
Here are the studies, starting with the one with the broadest implications:
- “Government Size and Growth: A Survey and Interpretation of the Evidence,” from Journal of Economic Surveys. Published in April 2011, Swedish economists Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson (both of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics at Lund University) found a “significant negative correlation” between size of government and economic growth. Specifically, “an increase in government size by 10 percentage points is associated with a 0.5% to 1% lower annual growth rate.”
- “The Impact of High and Growing Government Debt on Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation for the Euro Area,” in European Central Bank working paper, Number 1237, August 2010. Cristina Checherita and Philipp Rother found that a government-debt-to-GDP ratio above the threshold of 90-100% has a “deleterious” impact on long-term growth. Additionally, the impact of debt on growth is nonlinear – as the government debt rises to higher and higher levels, the adverse growth consequences accelerate.
- The Real Effects of Debt, published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland in August 2011. Stephen G. Cecchetti, M. S.Mohanty, and Fabrizio Zampolli determined that “beyond a certain level, debt is bad for growth. For government debt, the number is about 85% of GDP.”
- “Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes Since 1800,”by Carmen M. Reinhart, Vincent R. Reinhart, Kenneth S. Rogoff, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 26, Number 3, Summer 2012, pages 69-86. The authors identified 26 cases of “debt overhangs,” which they define as public-debt-to-GDP levels exceeding 90% for at least five years. In spite of the many idiosyncratic differences in these situations, economic growth fell in all but three of the 26 cases. All of the instances, which lasted an average of 23 years, are included in the paper. They found that average annual growth is 1.2% lower for countries with a debt overhang than for countries without. The long duration of such episodes means that cumulative shortfall from the debt excess—i.e., several years in a row of subpar economic growth—is potentially massive.
But it isn’t just federal government debt that is the problem. The rest of us have way too much debt as well.
If you can believe it, the ratio of private debt to GDP was 273.3% for the twelve months ending in the first quarter of 2013.
That is an astounding figure.
And as Hunt explained, having too much private debt is also very bad for an economy…
In Too Much Finance, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in March 2011, Jean Louis Arcand, Enrico Berkes, and Ugo Panizza found a negative effect on output growth when credit to the private sector reaches 104-110% of GDP. The strongest adverse effects are for credit over 160% of GDP.
The second is the 2011 BIS study authored by Cecchetti, Mohanty, and Zampolli. They found that private debt levels become “cancerous” (in BIS economic advisor Cecchetti’s own words) at 175% (90% for corporations and 85% for households)—just slightly more than the UNCTAD study.
When you add our private debt to GDP ratio of 273 percent to our federal debt to GDP ratio of 101 percent, you get a grand total of 384 percent.
This is how we have funded the false prosperity of the past couple of decades. Essentially, we have been putting our good times on a credit card.
And as anyone that has ever tried to live on credit knows, the good times eventually run out.
But this is what the Federal Reserve was designed to do. It was designed to get the U.S. government trapped in a debt spiral from which there would never be any escape.
It is not an accident that our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Fed was originally created. This is what the bankers wanted the system to do.
They wanted a system that would extract wealth from all of us through taxes, transfer it to the government, and then transfer it to them through interest payments.
We never needed a central bank, we never needed the IRS and we never needed an income tax. America would be doing just fine without any of them.
But instead, America chose to go down the path of collectivization and central planning, and now we are heading toward the biggest economic disaster in the history of mankind.
Why did the U.S. government spend 2.6 million dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly? Why did the U.S. government spend $175,587 “to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior”? Why did the U.S. government spend nearly a million dollars on a new soccer field for detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay? This week when I saw that the IRS was about to pay out 70 million dollars in bonuses to their employees and that the U.S. government was going to be leaving 7 billion dollars worth of military equipment behind in Afghanistan, it caused me to reflect on all of the other crazy ways that the government has been wasting our money in recent years. So I decided to go back through my previous articles and put together a list. I call it “The Waste List”. Even though our politicians insist that there is very little that can still be cut out of the budget, the truth is that the federal budget is absolutely drowning in pork. The following are 66 crazy ways that the U.S. government is wasting your hard-earned money…
#1 The IRS is about to pay out 70 million dollars in bonuses to employees even though discretionary bonuses are supposed to be cancelled due to the sequester.
#2 According to the Washington Post, the U.S. government is going to leave 7 billion dollars worth of military equipment behind in Afghanistan.
#3 It is being projected that the trip that the Obamas will be making to Africa will cost U.S. taxpayers $100,000,000.
#4 The NIH plans to spend $509,840 on a study that “will send text messages in ‘gay lingo’ to methamphetamine addicts to try to persuade them to use fewer drugs and more condoms.”
#5 The National Science Foundation has given $384,949 to Yale University to do a study on “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia”. Try not to laugh, but much of this research involves examining and measuring the reproductive organs of male ducks.
#6 The IRS spent $60,000 on a film parody of “Star Trek” and a film parody of “Gilligan’s Island”. Internal Revenue Service employees were the actors in the two parodies, so as you can imagine the acting was really bad.
#7 The NIH has given $1.5 million to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts to study why “three-quarters” of lesbians in the United States are overweight and why most gay males are not.
#8 The NIH has also spent $2.7 million to study why lesbians have more “vulnerability to hazardous drinking”.
#9 The U.S. government is giving sixteen F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt even though the new president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi (a member of the Muslim Brotherhood), constantly makes statements such as the following…
“Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them”
#10 During 2012, the salaries of Barack Obama’s three climate change advisers combined came to a grand total of more than $370,000.
#11 Overall, 139 different White House staffers were making at least $100,000 during 2012, and there were 20 staffers that made the maximum of $172,200.
#12 Amazingly, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 1.4 billion dollars a year on the Obamas. Meanwhile, British taxpayers only spend about 58 million dollars on the entire royal family.
#13 During 2012, $25,000 of federal money was spent on a promotional tour for the Alabama Watermelon Queen.
#14 The U.S. government spent $505,000 “to promote specialty hair and beauty products for cats and dogs” in 2012.
#15 NASA spends close to a million dollars a year developing a menu of food for a manned mission to Mars even though it is being projected that a manned mission to Mars is still decades away.
#16 During 2012, the federal government spent 15 million dollars to help the Russians recruit nuclear scientists.
#17 Over the past 15 years, a total of approximately $5.25 million has been spent on hair care services for the U.S. Senate.
#18 The U.S. government spent 27 million dollars to teach Moroccans how to design and make pottery in 2012.
#19 At a time when we have an epidemic of unemployment in the United States, the U.S. Department of Education is spending $1.3 million to “reduce linguistic, academic, and employment barriers for skilled and low-skilled immigrants and refugees, and to integrate them into the U.S. workforce and professions.”
#20 The federal government still sends about 20 million dollars a year to the surviving family members of veterans of World War I, even though World War I ended 94 years ago.
#21 The U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
#22 During fiscal 2012, the National Science Foundation gave researchers at Purdue University $350,000. They used part of that money to help fund a study that discovered that if golfers imagine that a hole is bigger it will help them with their putting.
#23 The U.S. government is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority every single year.
#24 Federal agencies have purchased a total of approximately 2 billion rounds of ammunition over the past couple of years. It is claimed that all of this ammunition is needed for “training purposes”.
#25 During 2012, the National Science Foundation spent $516,000 on the creation of a video game called “Prom Week” which apparently simulates “all the social interactions of the event.”
#26 If you can believe it, $10,000 of U.S. taxpayer money was actually used to purchase talking urinal cakes up in Michigan.
#27 When Joe Biden and his staff took a trip to London, the hotel bill cost U.S. taxpayers $459,388.65.
#28 Joe Biden and his staff also stopped in Paris for one night. The hotel bill for that one night came to $585,000.50.
#29 If you can believe it, close to 15,000 retired federal employees are currently collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#30 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has spent $300,000 to encourage Americans to eat caviar.
#31 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $666,905 to a group of researchers that is conducting a study on the benefits of watching reruns on television.
#32 The National Science Foundation has given 1.2 million dollars to a team of “scientists” that is spending part of that money on a study that is seeking to determine whether elderly Americans would benefit from playing World of Warcraft or not.
#33 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $548,731 to a team of researchers that concluded that those that drink heavily in their thirties also tend to feel more immature.
#34 The National Science Foundation recently spent $30,000 on a study to determine if “gaydar” actually exists. This is the conclusion that the researchers reached at the end of the study….
“Gaydar is indeed real and… its accuracy is driven by sensitivity to individual facial features”
#35 In 2011, the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
#36 The National Institutes of Health has spent more than 5 million dollars on a website called Sexpulse that is targeted at “men who use the Internet to seek sex with men”. According to Fox News, the website “includes pornographic images of homosexual sex as well as naked and scantily clad men” and features “a Space Invaders-style interactive game that uses a penis-shaped blaster to shoot down gay epithets.”
#37 The General Services Administration spent $822,751 on a “training conference” for 300 west coast employees at the M Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The following is how the Washington Post described some of the wasteful expenses that happened during this “conference”…
Among the “excessive, wasteful and in some cases impermissable” spending the inspector general documented: $5,600 for three semi-private catered in-room parties and $44 per person daily breakfasts; $75,000 for a “team-building” exercise — the goal was to build a bicycle; $146,000 on catered food and drinks; and $6,325 on commemorative coins in velvet boxes to reward all participants for their work on stimulus projects. The $31,208 “networking” reception featured a $19-per-person artisanal cheese display and $7,000 of sushi. At the conference’s closing-night dinner, employees received “yearbooks” with their pictures, at a cost of $8,130.
You can see some stunning pictures of GSA employees living the high life in Las Vegas right here.
#38 Do you remember when credit rating agency Egan Jones downgraded U.S. government debt from AA+ to AA? Well, someone in the federal government apparently did not like that at all. According to Zero Hedge, the SEC planned to file charges against Egan Jones for “misstatements” on a regulatory application with the SEC.
Normally, the SEC does not go after anyone. After all, when is the last time a major banker went to prison?
No, the truth is that the SEC is usually just a huge waste of taxpayer money. According to ABC News, one investigation found that 17 senior SEC officials had been regularly viewing pornography while at work. While the American people were paying their salaries, this is what senior SEC officials were busy doing…
One senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn, according to the report, which has yet to be released. When he filled all the space on his government computer with pornographic images, he downloaded more to CDs and DVDs that accumulated in boxes in his offices.
An SEC accountant attempted to access porn websites 1,800 times in a two-week period and had 600 pornographic images on her computer hard drive.
Another SEC accountant used his SEC-issued computer to upload his own sexually explicit videos onto porn websites he joined.
And another SEC accountant attempted to access porn sites 16,000 times in a single month.
#39 According to InformationWeek, the federal government is spending “millions of dollars” to train Asian call center workers.
#40 If you can believe it, the federal government has actually spent $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
#41 The U.S. Agency for International Development spent 10 million dollars to create a version of “Sesame Street” for Pakistani television.
#42 The Obama administration has plans to spend between 16 and 20 million dollars to help students from Indonesia get master’s degrees.
#43 The National Science Foundation spent $198,000 on a University of California-Riverside study that explored “motivations, expectations and goal pursuit in social media.” One of the questions the study sought an answer to was the following: “Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or Facebook?”
#44 In 2011, $147,138 was given to the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan. Their best magic trick is making U.S. taxpayer dollars disappear.
#45 The federal government recently spent $74,000 to help Michigan “increase awareness about the role Michigan plays in the production of trees and poinsettias.”
#46 In 2011, the federal government gave $550,000 toward the making of a documentary about how rock and roll contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.
#47 The National Institutes of Health has contributed $55,382 toward a study of “hookah smoking habits” in the country of Jordan.
#48 The federal government gave $606,000 to researchers at Columbia University to study how heterosexuals use the Internet to find love.
#49 A total of $133,277 was recently given to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games for video game preservation. The International Center for the History of Electronic Games says that it “collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography.”
#50 The federal government has given approximately $3 million to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to fund their “research” into video games such as World of Warcraft.
#51 In 2011, the National Science Foundation gave one team of researchers $149,990 to create a video game called “RapidGuppy” for cell phones and other mobile devices.
#52 In 2011, $936,818 was spent developing an online soap opera entitled “Diary of a Single Mom”. The show “chronicles the lives and challenges of three single mothers and their families trying to get ahead despite obstacles that all single mothers face, such as childcare, healthcare, education, and finances.”
#53 Last year, the federal government spent $96,000 to buy iPads for kindergarten students in Maine.
#54 The U.S. Postal Service once spent $13,500 for a single dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
#55 In 2011, the Air Force Academy completed work on an outdoor worship area for pagans and Wiccans. The worship area consists of “a small Stonehenge-like circle of boulders with [a] propane fire pit” and it cost $51,474 to build. The worship area is “for the handful of current or future cadets whose religions fall under the broad category of ‘Earth-based’, which includes Wiccans, druids and pagans.” At this point, that only includes 3 current students at the Air Force Academy.
#56 The National Institutes of Health once gave researchers $400,000 to study why gay men in Argentina engage in risky sexual behavior when they are drunk.
#57 The National Institutes of Health once gave researchers $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.
#58 The National Institutes of Health once spent $800,000 in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.
#59 The National Science Foundation recently spent $200,000 on a study that examined how voters react when politicians change their stances on climate change.
#60 The federal government recently spent $484,000 to help build a Mellow Mushroom pizzeria in Arlington, Texas.
#61 At this point, China is holding over a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt. But that didn’t stop the United States from sending 17.8 million dollars in foreign aid to China in 2011.
#62 The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the largest snack food maker in the world (PepsiCo Inc.) a total of 1.3 million dollars in corporate welfare that was used to help build “a Greek yogurt factory in New York.”
#63 The National Science Foundation recently gave a whopping $697,177 to a New York City-based theater company to produce a musical about climate change.
#64 The federal government once shelled out $2.6 million to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.
#65 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once handed researchers at the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.
#66 The federal government has spent $175,587 “to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior”.
Well, isn’t that convenient? At the moment when the Obama administration is feeling more heat then ever before, it starts another war. Suddenly everyone in the mainstream media is talking all about Syria and not about the IRS scandal, Benghazi, NSA snooping or any of the other political scandals that have popped up in recent weeks. As if on cue, Obama made headlines all over the globe on Thursday by claiming that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the rebels “multiple times”, and that the U.S. was now ready to do more to assist the rebels. That assistance is reportedly going to include “military support” for the rebels and a no-fly zone over at least part of Syria is being discussed. Without a doubt, these are acts of war, and this conflict is not going to end until Assad has been ousted. But Assad will not go quietly. And all it would take is for Assad to fire a couple of missiles at Tel Aviv for a huge regional war to erupt in the Middle East. And what happens if Russia or China decides to get involved in the conflict in Syria? Obama is playing with fire, but he has shown again and again that he is willing to do virtually anything if it will benefit him politically.
As far as the Obama administration is concerned, there is no such thing as a coincidence. The timing of this announcement regarding Syria was not an accident. If Obama wanted to use chemical weapons as an excuse to go after Syria he could have done it weeks ago, or he could have waited several more months before taking action. He chose to do it right now for a reason, and hopefully the American people will be able to see right through this.
So exactly what are we going to be doing for the Syrian rebels? Well, we will definitely be arming them and training them. And it is probably reasonable to assume that there will be American “advisers” on the ground inside Syria helping to organize the Syrian resistance. In fact, according to Debka, a large U.S. Marine force has already been deployed to the Jordanian border with Syria.
In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. aircraft may be involved in enforcing a no-fly zone inside Syria…
A U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials.
Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border.
To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials.
No matter how you slice it, the United States is now in a state of war with Syria. The only question is how “involved” we are going to get.
And several prominent Republicans are already rushing forward to applaud Barack Obama on this latest move. The following comes from a CBS News report…
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with the rebels last month and has been a vocal critic of the president’s Syria policy said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: “We appreciate the President’s finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President’s red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions.”
But you know what? Many of these Syrian rebels have actually pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The whole point of the “war on terror” was to supposedly fight al-Qaeda, but now the U.S. military is allied with them.
Why in the world would we want to help the people who are supposed to be our greatest global enemy?…
A Syrian rebel group’s pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda’s replacement for Osama bin Laden suggests that the terrorist group’s influence is not waning and that it may take a greater role in the Western-backed fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The pledge of allegiance by Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri was coupled with an announcement by the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, that it would work with al Nusra as well.
Lebanese Sheik Omar Bakri, a Salafist who says states must be governed by Muslim religious law, says al-Qaeda has assisted al Nusra for some time.
“They provided them early on with technical, military and financial support , especially when it came to setting up networks of foreign jihadis who were brought into Syria,” Bakri says. “There will certainly be greater coordination between the two groups.”
This group of jihadists has been responsible for car and suicide bombings all over Syria, and they are the ones that have been doing the heaviest fighting on the front lines…
When the group Jabhat al Nusra first claimed responsibility for car and suicide bombings in Damascus that killed dozens last January, many of Syria’s revolutionaries claimed that the organization was a creation of the Syrian government, designed to discredit those who opposed the regime of President Bashar Assad and to hide the regime’s own brutal tactics.
Nearly a year later, however, Jabhat al Nusra, which U.S. officials believe has links to al Qaida, has become essential to the frontline operations of the rebels fighting to topple Assad.
Not only does the group still conduct suicide bombings that have killed hundreds, but they’ve proved to be critical to the rebels’ military advance. In battle after battle across the country, Nusra and similar groups do the heaviest frontline fighting. Groups who call themselves the Free Syrian Army and report to military councils led by defected Syrian army officers move into the captured territory afterward.
The prominence of Nusra in the rebel cause worries U.S. and other Western officials, who say its operations rely on the same people and tactics that fueled al Qaida in Iraq – an assertion that is borne out by interviews with Nusra members in Syria.
These are no “freedom fighters”. In fact, if these guys take over they will be much worse than Assad. These “rebels” recently massacred an entire village of Christians, and just two days ago they slaughtered a 14-year-old boy for supposedly insulting Mohammed…
The rebels, according to ABC News’ reconstruction of the Syrian groups’ reports, appear to have whipped Qatta. When they brought him back to where they’d taken him, his head was wrapped by a shirt.
The rebels waited for a crowd to gather; Qatta’s parents were among them. Speaking in classical Arabic, they announced that Qatta had committed blasphemy and that anyone else who dared insult the Prophet Mohammed would share his fate. Then, the shirt still wrapped around the boy’s head, the rebels shot him in the mouth and neck.
Is this really who the U.S. government wants to be allies with?
Are we that stupid?
And guess what? According to the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration is considering plans to bring all of the poor “refugees” that are allied with these “rebels” to the United States…
Two years into a civil war that shows no signs of ending, the Obama administration is considering resettling refugees who have fled Syria, part of an international effort that could bring thousands of Syrians to American cities and towns.
A resettlement plan under discussion in Washington and other capitals is aimed at relieving pressure on Middle Eastern countries straining to support 1.6 million refugees, as well as assisting hard-hit Syrian families.
But now we are committed to this conflict thanks to Obama.
There will be no backing down until Assad is gone.
Of course this could create a huge regional war in the Middle East or even eventually lead to World War III, but Obama doesn’t seem to care.
For now, Obama is saving his own skin, and that is the most important thing to him.
Is it right for Barack Obama to use IRS audits to punish his political enemies? As crazy as that sounds, there is a mounting body of evidence that indicates that this is actually happening. And if this can be proven, it is a much, much larger scandal than the IRS giving “extra scrutiny” to the applications of conservative non-profit groups. Let me be clear – if Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to punish his political enemies, that is an impeachable offense. Of all of the other scandals that are out there right now, this is the one that could actually bring down the presidency of Barack Obama. That is how serious this is. As you will read about below, there is a huge amount of circumstantial evidence that political enemies of Barack Obama have been singled out for IRS audits. We need to find out who initiated these audits. Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, this kind of abuse of government power should sicken and horrify you. If it can be proven that Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to attack his enemies, every single U.S. citizen should be calling for him to resign. This is something that is beyond politics – this is a direct threat to the very integrity of our system.
The recent revelation that the IRS has been specifically targeting patriot groups and Tea Party organizations for “extra scrutiny” has opened up the floodgates. In recent days, a large number of highly respected people have come forward claiming that they were the subject of IRS audits that were politically motivated.
For example, Larry Conners, a respected local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, Missouri says that he was hit with an IRS audit almost immediately after he conducted an interview with Barack Obama in April 2012…
Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.
I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.
At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.
Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.
Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.
In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.
I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.
The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.
That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.
Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda – political or otherwise – at the expense of the reporting the truth.
What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.
Can I prove it? At this time, no.
But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.
Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of Reverend Billy Graham, recently wrote a letter to Barack Obama claiming that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse were both hit with IRS audits very shortly after they ran full-page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment. In fact, both organizations were notified about the audits on the same day. The following is from a recent article posted on redstate.com…
The man known as America’s pastor was among those targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ran newspaper advertisements promoting traditional marriage and biblical values.
“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” wrote Franklin Graham in a letter to President Obama. “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”
Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as the international charity Samaritan’s Purse. Both organizations received word of audits on the same day – not long after they ran full –page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment.
The ads encouraged voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”
The ad concluded with the words, “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me (Billy Graham) that America will remain one nation under God.”
Graham said on Sept. 6, 2012 they received notification that the IRS would audit their taxes.
“In light of what the IRS admitted to on Friday, May 10, 2013, and subsequent revelations from other sources, I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable,” Graham wrote.
You can find a full copy of Franklin Graham’s letter to Barack Obama right here.
The Blaze is reporting on another example of this phenomenon. A respected Catholic professor that had written things critical of the Obama administration was hit with an IRS audit that she believes was politically motivated…
On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told The Blaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.
According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her and “what their politics were.”
It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July.
Unfortunately, these are not just isolated incidents. In fact, attorney Cleta Mitchell recently told Newsmax that she has seen a systematic pattern of politically motivated IRS harassment that only began once Barack Obama entered the White House…
In the case of one such client, she and her family subsequently became targets for audits to their personal and business tax returns, and were even visited by three different government agencies. She also knows of other groups who had surprise visits from the FBI after they applied for IRS status.
Mitchell said she doesn’t believe the president or the White House was uninvolved in the IRS activities, as the administration has claimed.
“I’ve thought for some time that this is politically motivated and that’s the reason it was happening. And, as I said, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this until 2009, 2010. And the only thing that changed was we had a different administration,” she said.
There are some that have been trying to bring awareness to these politically motivated audits for quite some time. One of these individuals is a former classmate of Obama’s named Wayne Allyn Root…
“I feel like a million bucks. I feel absolutely vindicated. I knew this was going on,” Wayne Allyn Root told WND.
Root, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 2008 who has claimed Obama was strangely unknown to him and his fellow Columbia University classmates, recounted his story to WND last October of becoming the target of unusual audits, beginning in January 2011, despite a “spotless” 30-year tax record.
He charged in October that the order to audit him came from Obama himself, and he is even more convinced now.
“I believe this is not rogue agents, who would be risking their pension and careers,” he said.
In October, Root said the order to audit him “must have come from the highest levels of government.”
“Obama is using the power of the IRS and other government agencies to punish his political opposition and intimidate and silence his critics,” Root charged at the time.
In that same article, a number of other examples of this phenomenon were cited…
Last year, billionaire Frank VanderSloot became the target of investigations by both the IRS and the Labor Department after he gave $1 million to a super PAC that supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP’s biggest donor, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, said a federal criminal investigation into his company’s business practices was politically motivated. Another casino giant, Steve Wynn, also has been investigated.
This week, Root has received many emails from people who identify as conservative and believe the IRS has been harassing them for political reasons.
What happened to businessman Frank VanderSloot is particularly noteworthy. The following is from an article that Rob Bluey authored last year…
On April 20, President Obama’s campaign named VanderSloot to the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era. Eight private citizens were singled out for their donations to Romney. They committed no crimes, sought no attention, and yet they became the subject of Obama’s scorn.
VanderSloot is now facing persecution from the federal government. Kimberly Strassel reveals in The Wall Street Journal that two federal agencies — the Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department — both launched investigations of VanderSloot after his name appeared on Obama’s enemies list.
No matter what you think of Obama’s politics, shouldn’t we all be deeply alarmed that he has an “enemies list”?
With each passing day, the similarities between Barack Obama and Richard Nixon become more glaring.
And Obama has even joked about sending the IRS after people that he does not like. When Obama found out that he was not going to be receiving an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University, he made the following statement…
“President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.”
The IRS is not supposed to be used as a weapon, and the White House is not allowed to use information gathered by the IRS for political gain either. But apparently last year someone at the IRS was leaking tax information to someone within the Obama campaign. The following is from a recent article by Matt K. Lewis…
A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”
Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.
“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”
The IRS has been doing all sorts of things that they should not be doing. They are a rogue agency that is completely out of control.
In fact, one new lawsuit alleges that the IRS stole the health records of approximately 10 million Americans…
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data. “This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.
And guess what?
The IRS is going to be the primary government agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.
Will we soon see the IRS use health information to attack the political enemies of the man or woman sitting in the White House?
Unfortunately, thanks to new “Big Brother” technology that the IRS has been implementing, pretty soon there will be very little about us that the IRS does not know. The following is from a recent article by Richard Satran of U.S. News & World Report…
Consumers are already familiar with Internet “cookies” that track their movements and send them targeted ads that follow them to different websites. The IRS has brought in private industry experts to employ similar digital tracking—but with the added advantage of access to Social Security numbers, health records, credit card transactions and many other privileged forms of information that marketers don’t see.
“Private industry would be envious if they knew what our models are,” boasted Dean Silverman, the agency’s high-tech top gun who heads a group recruited from the private sector to update the IRS, in a comment reported in trade publications.
So what is the IRS going to do with all of this information?
Well, the following are just a few of the things that they have already said that they plan to do with it…
• Charting and analyzing social media such as Facebook
• Targeting audits by matching tax filings to social media or electronic payments
• Tracking individual Internet addresses and emailing patterns
• Sorting data in 32,000 categories of metadata and 1 million unique “attributes”
• Machine learning across “neural” networks
• Statistical and agent-based modeling
• Relationship analysis based on Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers
So are you alarmed by all of this?
You should be.
As I discussed in my previous article entitled “100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax“, Congress should close the doors of the IRS and throw away the key. It is a deeply, deeply corrupt government agency that has gotten wildly out of control.
After what you have just read above, is there anyone out there that would disagree with me?
Does Barack Obama have any idea what is going on in the government that he is supposedly running? Scandals are erupting all around him, and he supposedly was not aware that any wrongdoing had taken place in any of those instances. It is almost as if every major government agency has gone rogue and Obama has no idea what the heck they are doing. According to Obama, he often doesn’t learn what those under his authority are up to until he sits down and turns on the news. Should we believe him when he claims ignorance over and over again, or is Obama just trying to protect himself? Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, the revelations that have come out in recent days about the IRS, the seizure of AP phone records and Benghazi should be very alarming to you. Taken together, these scandals paint a picture of a federal government that has become drunk with power, and no matter where you may fall on the political spectrum that is something that nobody should want.
Posted below is a fictional interview that I have created between an anonymous reporter and Barack Obama about the IRS scandal, the seizure of AP phone records, Benghazi and other sensitive topics. Yes, this interview is a bit absurd, but so is the notion that Barack Obama is completely ignorant about so many important things that are going on inside his own government…
REPORTER: “President Obama, the IRS has publicly admitted that they were specifically targeting patriot groups and Tea Party organizations for ‘extra scrutiny’. When did you first learn about this?”
REPORTER: “But how is that possible? We have now learned that the targeting of patriots and Tea Party groups began as early as March 2010. The head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division was informed about this targeting in June 2011, the chief counsel for the IRS knew about this targeting by August 2011, the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement knew about this targeting by March 2012, and IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller knew about this targeting by May 2012. Throughout this period of time, the IRS repeatedly lied to Congress when they were specifically asked about the targeting of conservative groups. Are you claiming that nobody from your administration ever had any contact with anyone from the IRS about this?”
REPORTER: That is what the IRS was claiming at first. But now the Washington Post is reporting that “IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups.” That would seem to indicate that this was being coordinated on a nationwide level by someone at the IRS. Would you care to comment on that?
REPORTER: But you were just commenting on it. Don’t you think that the American people deserve the truth about this?
REPORTER: Okay, let’s switch gears. Did you know that the Justice Department was spying on AP reporters just months before the 2012 election? Did you know that two months of cellular, office and home telephone records were secretly obtained without any explanation last April and May?
REPORTER: The Associated Press is now the enemy? Without a free and independent media, what would keep us from descending into tyranny?
REPORTER: But shouldn’t we be alarmed when government agencies target specific groups of people for their political beliefs? Breitbart is reporting that the EPA “has routinely charged conservative and watchdog groups fees that the agency has waived for the mainstream media and ‘green’ groups”. Do you know anything about this?
REPORTER: I understand that these are tougher questions than you normally get from the media. But I think that the American people deserve some answers. For example, would you like to discuss Benghazi?
REPORTER: Very funny Mr. President. What about the Fast and Furious scandal? Would you be willing to talk about that?
REPORTER: Are there any difficult subjects that you would be willing to discuss? I have questions here about the Secret Service prostitution scandal, Solyndra, the new NSA spy center out in Utah, government ammunition stockpiling, the NDAA, drone strikes, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers. Would you be willing to answer any of those questions?
If Barack Obama can “solve” the debt ceiling crisis by printing up some trillion dollar coins, then why does the federal government need our money? As another debt ceiling showdown approaches, many in the liberal media are suggesting that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling that Obama should just have the U.S. Treasury create a trillion dollar platinum coin and use it to pay our bills. It sounds crazy, but many notable voices (including Paul Krugman of the New York Times) are supporting this idea. But if the federal government has had the power to create trillion dollar coins out of thin air all this time, then why do we have to pay taxes? Not only that, why do we have a national debt? If the federal government can just create money whenever it wants, then why does the federal government ever have to borrow it from others? The U.S. Constitution actually grants Congress the power to “coin money”, so why is the Federal Reserve doing it? Those are some very important questions. Most Americans don’t even realize that the U.S. government never actually needed to borrow a single penny from anyone else. The U.S. Congress has the authority to create debt-free money whenever it wants to. Conceivably, the entire federal government could be funded without ever borrowing a single dollar and without ever receiving a single dollar from any of us in taxes. Just imagine that – a nation without a single penny of national debt, no income tax and no IRS. What a wonderful world that would be. Of course there would be other potential dangers under such a system (such as runaway inflation), and those dangers would have to be addressed. But the truth is that we don’t have to have an income tax or 16 trillion dollars of government debt. We only have those things because we have chosen to have those things.
Sometimes, a crisis can illuminate options that most people had not considered previously. As another debt ceiling crisis draws closer, many are looking for ways for the U.S. government to be able to continue to pay its bills if Congress does not authorize an increase in the debt ceiling.
If a debt ceiling agreement is not worked out, the U.S. government will soon only be able to pay about half the bills that are coming due after interest payments on the national debt (which will almost certainly be prioritized) are made.
That is why a lot of people on the left are pushing the “trillion dollar coin” alternative. So how would this work exactly? The mechanics were recently explained by Jim Pethokoukis on his American Enterprise Institute blog…
There are limits on how much paper money the U.S. can circulate and rules that govern coinage on gold, silver, and copper. BUT, the Treasury has broad discretion on coins made from platinum. The theory goes that the U.S. Mint would create a handful of trillion dollar (or more) platinum coins. The President would then order the coins deposited at the Fed, who would then put the coin(s) in the Treasury who now can pay all their bills and a default is removed from the equation. The effects on the currency market and inflation are unclear, to say the least.
In my opinion, if anyone in the federal government is going to be creating money out of thin air, it should be the U.S. Congress. After all, according to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, it is the U.S. Congress that has been granted the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.
But those that are pushing Obama to create a “trillion dollar coin” point to a law that Congress passed that allows the U.S. Treasury to mint platinum coins. The following is from a recent CNN article…
Normally, the Federal Reserve is charged with issuing currency. But U.S. law, specifically 31 USC § 5112, also grants Treasury permission to “mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins.”
This section of law was meant to allow for the printing of commemorative coins and the like. But the Treasury Secretary has the authority to mint these coins in any denomination he or she sees fit.
But it wouldn’t quite be that easy. According to a recent ABC News article, some elements of the coin design would have to be determined by legislation…
The more difficult part comes sometime after the decision is made to coin the platinum and before the Mint gets to work in sculpting the pieces.
At that point, the American people must decide whose face will adorn the trillion dollar trinket. The process to determine the “specs” of the coin, U.S. Mint Public Affairs Specialist Genevieve Billia warns, must be “determined by legislation,” creating the potential for another congressional impasse.
So we would likely end up back at square one.
But if printing up a “trillion dollar coin” does not work out, Paul Krugman of the New York Times has come up with another option…
Don’t like the platinum coin option? Here’s a functionally equivalent alternative: have the Treasury sell pieces of paper labeled “moral obligation coupons”, which declare the intention of the government to redeem these coupons at face value in one year.
It should be clearly stated on the coupons that the government has no, repeat no, legal obligation to pay anything at all; you see, they’re not debt, and therefore don’t count against the debt limit. But that shouldn’t keep them from having substantial market value.
Of course there is a very, very low probability that any of these wild ideas will ever be tried, but this debate has raised some very interesting points.
The truth is that we do not have to have a system where more money is only created when more debt is created. We could have a system where the federal government directly creates debt-free money that is spent directly into circulation by the federal government.
In fact, this has happened before.
As I have written about previously, during the presidency of JFK a limited number of debt-free United States Notes were issued by the U.S. Treasury and spent by the U.S. government directly into circulation without any new debt being created. In fact, each bill said “United States Note” right at the top.
Unfortunately, after JFK’s presidency no more debt-free United States Notes were ever issued.
But even before JFK, there were times when debt-free United States Notes were being used. According to Wikipedia, United States Notes were first used during the Civil War….
They were originally issued directly into circulation by the U.S. Treasury to pay expenses incurred by the Union during the American Civil War. Over the next century, the legislation governing these notes was modified many times and numerous versions have been issued by the Treasury.
So why are we using debt-based Federal Reserve Notes today instead of debt-free United States Notes?
If the Federal Reserve did not exist and the U.S. government directly created money instead of borrowing it, it is conceivable that we could have a national debt of $0.00 today instead of $16,432,707,263,449.56.
Which option do you think our children and our grandchildren will wish that we had opted for?
In a system where the government directly created money, it is also conceivable that we could completely do away with the income tax and the IRS completely. The U.S. once prospered greatly without an income tax, and it could do so again.
And the truth is that our system of taxation is broken beyond repair. If you doubt this, just read this article.
So what would the downside be to such a system? Well, of course rampant inflation would be a huge danger. Allowing Congress to print up money whenever they wanted to would be playing with fire. That is why it would be imperative for there to be a hard cap on what the federal government could spend. For example, you could set the cap on spending by the federal government at 20 percent of GDP. That way we would hopefully never end up looking like the Weimar Republic.
And the current federal debt could be paid down a little at a time using newly created debt-free currency. This would have to be done slowly to keep inflation under control, but it could be done.
Of course if you wanted to continue to fund the federal government through taxation, there are other options that would still allow you to do away with the income tax. For example, one of the ways that our founders intended for the federal government to be funded was through tariffs, and we could definitely raise a lot of money that way. Plus, that would have the added benefit of making American companies much more competitive again and it would reduce the flow of American jobs out of the country.
So am I in favor of having Barack Obama create a trillion dollar coin to get around the debt ceiling crisis?
Most definitely not. If it does not violate the letter of the Constitution (which I believe it does), it sure does violate the spirit of it.
But if the U.S. Congress decided to shut down the Federal Reserve and the IRS and they decided to abolish the income tax, and instead they started directly issuing debt-free currency directly into circulation, that is something I would very much be in favor of.
Yes, that system would not be perfect either, but it would be far more preferable to what we have today.
So what do you think? Should we keep our current system of debt-based money, or would a system of debt-free money be better?
Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below…
For those waiting for our economic problems to be solved, you can quit holding your breath. There is simply not going to be a solution to our economic problems on the national level. So why is that the case? Well, it is because the economic policies of both major political parties are very, very similar when you take a close look at them. Yes, that statement may sound downright bizarre to many Americans, but it is true. Both major political parties supported the Wall Street bailouts, both of them fully support the job-killing “free trade” globalization agenda, both of them have dramatically increased the national debt when in power, both of them fully support the currency-killing policies of the Federal Reserve, and neither major political party would get rid of the income tax and the IRS. And that is just for starters. Yes, there are some minor differences when it comes to taxing and spending between the two parties, but the truth is that they are a lot more similar on economic issues than they are different. What we desperately need on the national level is a fundamental change in direction when it comes to economic policy, but we simply are not going to get that from either the Democrats or the Republicans. That means that there is no hope that the economic storm that is coming will be averted.
So why are the Democrats and the Republicans so similar on these issues? Well, a big reason is because of who they are trying to please.
The reality of the matter is that most politicians do not really care about what you or I have to say. Instead, what they are really concerned about is getting as much money for their campaigns as possible so that they can keep getting elected.
When you take a close look at the results of federal elections over the past several decades, it quickly becomes apparent that the candidate that raises the most money almost always wins.
So most politicians have learned to please those that fund their campaigns so that the money will keep rolling in.
Yes, there are a few candidates that are willing to rebel against “the system”, but they are few and far between and the major parties tend to marginalize them.
Once again in 2012, political races will overwhelmingly be won by those that raise the most cash. The following is from Politifact….
In congressional races in 2010, the candidate who spent the most won 85 percent of the House races and 83 percent of the Senate races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a large percentage, but it’s lower than what the sign indicated.
Indeed, the percentage for 2010 was lower than it had been in recent election cycles. The center found that in 2008, the biggest spenders won 93 percent of House races and 86 percent of Senate races. In 2006, the top spenders won 94 percent of House races and 73 percent of Senate races. And in 2004, 98 percent of House seats went to candidates who spent the most, as did 88 percent of Senate seats.
Once you understand how Washington works, it becomes easier to understand why our politicians do such stupid things.
For example, big corporations tend to donate large amounts of money to political campaigns and they love the “free trade” globalization agenda.
They love to import massive quantities of super cheap foreign goods so that they can undercut the prices of goods made in the United States.
They love to set up manufacturing facilities on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to workers.
The “free trade” agenda is great for the largest corporations, but it is horrible for the average American worker.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.
Trade with other countries can be good as long as it is balanced. Unfortunately, the U.S. trading relationship with the rest of the world is tremendously imbalanced.
In 2011, the United States bought more than 550 billion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they bought from us.
This trade deficit has enormous consequences that most Americans simply do not understand.
Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars have left our country.
Our industrial base is being dismantled and we are rapidly becoming poorer as a nation.
According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day closed down in the United States during 2010.
Just think about that.
Every single day we lost 23 more.
Overall, America has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
Why do you think cities like Detroit are dying?
The truth is that we killed them with our idiotic policies.
America has a trade imbalance that is more than 5 times larger than any other nation on earth has. We are losing wealth, jobs and businesses at a pace that is absolutely astounding.
It is neither “conservative” nor “liberal” to commit national economic suicide.
Our trade imbalance with China is particularly bad. The U.S. spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
Does that sound fair to you?
China slaps huge tariffs on many of our products, they deeply subsidize their own national industries, the brazenly steal technology from us, and they manipulate currency rates so that their products end up being significantly cheaper than ours.
Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was nearly 300 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the world.
Yet both major political parties refuse to do anything about it.
Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was only 6 million dollars for the entire year.
In 2011, our trade deficit with China was more than 49,000 times larger.
The consequences of this trade deficit with China are being felt all over the United States every single day.
For example, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Do you support losing more than half a million manufacturing jobs a year?
If not, then you should be for “fair trade” instead of “free trade” where other nations can cheat us blind as often as they want.
The Economic Policy Institute says that since 2001 America has lost approximately 2.8 million jobs due to our trade deficit with China alone.
Do you think that the U.S. economy could use an extra 2.8 million jobs right now?
Sadly, if current trends continue things are going to get a lot worse.
According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.
So why won’t our politicians do something?
The United States has run a trade deficit every single year since 1976.
During that time, America has had a total trade imbalance of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.
That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. jobs and U.S. businesses.
Taxes could have been paid on that 7.5 trillion dollars.
Instead, it went out of the country and made foreigners wealthier.
So what is Barack Obama doing about all of this?
Well, Obama has been aggressively pushing for even more “free trade” agreements. The Obama administration has inked deals with Panama, South Korea and Colombia and the Obama administration is making the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“the NAFTA of the Pacific“) a very high priority.
Well, Mitt Romney must be criticizing these moves, right?
No, Romney has actually criticized Obama for not pushing for more “free trade” fast enough.
Mitt Romney wants to make it even easier for jobs to go out of the country and for other countries to drain our wealth. The following quote comes directly from the Romney campaign website….
Access to foreign markets is crucial to growing our economy. We must reassert American leadership in international negotiations, follow through on commitments we have already made, and push aggressively for advantageous new agreements.
So we are not going to see a change in direction in trade policy no matter who wins the next election.
Well, what about the national debt?
Are there differences between the two parties on this issue?
Sadly, there are only minor differences.
Both major political parties are packed with big spenders that have been spending us into oblivion.
Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by $5,027,761,476,484.56.
That comes to $16,043.39 for every man, woman and child living in the United States.
What the Obama administration and the Democrats are doing to future generations is absolutely criminal.
So what about the Republicans?
Well, when the Republicans have had control of the White House they have run up debt “like a drunken sailor” as well.
If the Republican Party wants to have any credibility when it comes to fiscal issues, it needs to publicly admit that George W. Bush was a horrible failure when it came to the federal budget.
George W. Bush was a “big government” politician that dramatically increased the size of the federal government and spent money like it was going out of style.
He was not a conservative when it came to fiscal issues, and that is the truth.
Sadly, neither political party is proposing to balance the federal budget any time soon. There are a few politicians that have suggested doing this, but they have been marginalized.
So why don’t our politicians support living within our means?
Well, the truth is that if the federal government balanced the budget today, it would result in a catastrophic drop in living standards inside the United States. We are currently living in an era of debt-fueled “false prosperity”, and if that false prosperity were to disappear there would be riots in the streets of our major cities within months.
It is much easier for our politicians to continue to pile up more debt and to continue to kick the can down the road.
But this party cannot go on too much longer. Already, the United States has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.
As you can see from the chart below, we are in a whole lot of trouble….
Our foolishness will catch up to us in a big way eventually.
Another area where the two major political parties agree is that they both fully support the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve is supposed to keep inflation low, but the truth is that the Fed has absolutely killed the value of the U.S. dollar. Just check out the chart below which was produced by the Fed itself. It shows how dramatically the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has declined over the years….
Keep in mind that the chart above is using official government numbers which actually downplay how much the U.S. dollar has been debased.
If inflation was measured the exact same way that it was back in 1980, the annual rate of inflation would be more than 10 percent right now.
By any measure, the Federal Reserve has been a colossal failure for the American people. Since the Fed was created, our currency has lost more than 95 percent of its value and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.
The current Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, has a track record of failure that is legendary. If you doubt this, just read this article, this article and this article.
But Barack Obama just loves Bernanke. He nominated him for another term as Fed Chairman and he never criticizes anything that he does.
So will things be any different under Mitt Romney?
Of course not.
During one Republican debate, Mitt Romney actually had the gall to try to explain to all of us why “we need to have a Fed“.
Mitt Romney says that he is “not going to take my effort and focus on the Federal Reserve“.
But the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems.
Doesn’t Mitt Romney understand that?
The mainstream media is already telling us not to expect any significant changes at the Fed if Romney wins. A recent Reuters article had the following headline….
“Analysis: A Romney win would likely change little at Federal Reserve”
Are you starting to understand why I am saying that there is not going to be a solution to our economic problems at the national level?
A great economic cataclysm is coming, and there is very little hope that it can be averted.
So what does that mean?
It means that we all need to start preparing to weather the coming storm on an individual level.
The nation as a whole may not change course, but as individuals and as families we can change course.
All of us can work to reduce our expenses, get out of debt, build up a six month financial cushion, learn to grow a garden and slowly become more independent of the system.
Both political parties are leading us down a road that will only end in economic disaster.
Instead of waiting for a “national solution” that is never going to come, you need to focus on being your own solution.
Time is short, so you better get ready.